WWII Victory Day is a national holiday in Ukraine on May 9 to remember victory over the Nazi regime during World War II and commemorate war victims. This holiday has complicated and controversial history in Ukraine, find out why.
Victory Day is a holiday that commemorates the capitulation of Nazi Germany to the Soviet Union at the end of the Second World War, known in the Soviet Union as the Great Patriotic War. It was first inaugurated in the 16 republics of former Soviet Union, following the signing of the surrender document late in the evening on May 8, 1945 (after midnight, thus on May 9 according to Moscow Time). The Soviet government announced the victory early on 9 May after the signing ceremony in Berlin. Though the official inauguration occurred in 1945 the holiday became a non-labor day only in 1965 and only in certain Soviet republics.
Ukraine officially recognized May 9 from its independence in 1991 until 2013 as the official public holiday. The holiday was similarly celebrated there while the country was part of the Soviet Union. Victory Day in Ukraine is an eventful public holiday often consisting of: official greetings to war veterans, public display of Ukraine’s armed forces, Presidential speech, concerts featuring Ukrainian pop stars singing popular wartime songs, evening firework displays. Victory Day also included a moment of silence to honor war victims, as well as people laying flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Kyiv.
As of 2015, Ukraine officially celebrates Victory Day over Nazism in the Second World War on May 9, per a decree of parliament. Additionally, the term ‘Great Patriotic War’ as a reference was replaced with ‘Second World War’ over all Ukrainian legislation. Since May 15, 2015 Communist and Nazi symbols are prohibited in Ukraine. The same year, May 8 was designated as a day of Remembrance and Reconciliation, however it is not a public holiday.
However, you can still go to the park of Eternal Glory where you can visit the Museum of the Second World War or just enjoy the panoramic view of Kyiv.